Christophe Rousset was replacing the initially announced Ivor Bolton as conductor of this concert performance of Handel Semele. What a good deal! Rousset had already done this oratorio/opera in Paris and he has nicely evolved from a harpsichordist to I-conduct-my-own-period-instruments-ensemble to I-conduct-at-any-opera-house. So he brought all of this to this night: very good continuo sense, experience with HIP orchestras and full staged opera productions. Seen Rousset conducting with the hands, with energetic and fast movements is a delightful experience. And the result was also delightful: The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment delivered a very fine performance. Handel score is quite contrasting with his initial operas and full of innovations.

But the real star of the night was the OAE Rising Stars programme. What a brilliant programme: young singers selected to work trough the season with the top orchestra. And what a amazing selection of singers!

Louise Alder as Semele was stunning. Passion, beautiful voice and very in style singing.

James Way was another nice surprise as Jupiter. He portrayed his character with amazing expressiveness and perfect agilities.

I only knew before this night Ray Chenez who sang a very elegant Athamas. A pity he only sings during the first part :(.

The acting prize of the night went to Catherine Wyn-Rogers doing a funny Juno.

After this wonderful night I am really excited about this year OAE season and upcoming concert with Rousset and his Les Talents Lyriques at Wigmore Hall and the Barbican.